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(By Chris Sharp) The date is June 28, 2017, and Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth is launching a public local war against the local misuse of opioids in the city of Santa Clarita.  He includes in his public presentation a number of local “stakeholders” from the health and human services field that represent the wide breadth of the growing opioid abuse challenge in America. 

Since I am here to do something or other, I feel a kind of duty in the wake of this concern to at least share my experience with opioids, which is more widely understood if we simply call them painkillers. 

It may be important to admit that the first time I had really heard of opioid being a public problem when I heard about ten years ago of the problems that the political commentator Rush Limbaugh was having with addiction to his painkillers.  My understanding was that Limbaugh who is in addition to being political is also a kind of comedian tried to be both political and funny while fighting off chronic back pain.   But his legal problems emerged when it was found he was getting many more opioids prescribed to him than any one physician was legally capable of prescribing.

It is not unusual for addicts to find more than one doctor who even a multitude of doctors to prescribe them many more pills than they are supposed to take.  Sometimes a person in pain thinks mainly about getting rid of the pain, no matter how. And sometimes they will settle on an answer even if the answer kills them.

At that time, I did not know how chronic back pain can curtail your life.  Yet a few years later, as my seniority was beginning to jam my skeleton down to a lower height, displacing everything inside of me by a lower inch, including especially my sciatic nerve which began screaming bloody murder over its sudden displacement, my sciatica helped me how to understand how back pain can curtail you and your entire life.

Indeed, when our children attended school at Mitchell Elementary School in Canyon Country, the man who then served as role-modelling principal of the school later committed suicide by shooting himself through the head because he could not stand his back pain one day longer.  

My own back pain led me to be prescribed the most excessively used opioid in America or indeed, according to Business Insider, the most excessively prescriptive medicine anywhere– Vicodin, the narcotic hydrocodone and acetaminophen.   What did I know about Vicodin before I started taking it?  Nothing.  But it left the numbing pain intact in my back even if it took out the sharpening pain.  After taking it, and being left with the numbing pain, the main thought you may have is what to take now to get all the pain out.

Read more here: A Sharp View: Patience was the big gun against my opioid use